Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia to announce intentions to decriminalise cannabis. On January 19th, 2022, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed removing cannabis containing less than 0.2% THC from the list of narcotics where this drug is currently classified under Category 5.
If this measure is accepted, citizens will be able to buy, carry, and use cannabis with no fear of being fined or imprisoned. According to a The Thaiger report, Thai FDA Secretary General Paisarn Dunkum stressed that the agency is working on a Cannabis Bill that would allow any adult over 20 years old to use cannabis at specific locations authorised by the government.
Nowadays, people in Thailand are being arrested for possession of cannabis, which may be punished with up to 15 years in prison. Decriminalisation means that possessing cannabis and home growing are both permitted. The announcement was given by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is yet to complete formalities to effectively remove cannabis from the list of narcotic drugs, coming into force 120 days after being published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette.
Thailand: A Pioneer in the Region
In 2017, Thailand’s interim parliament voted to allow the use of medical cannabis, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise consumption for these purposes. The Thai legislative authority agreed to amend national laws with the purpose of legalising medical use of cannabis and kratom, a local herb traditionally used as a stimulant and analgesic drug. The new piece of legislation authorises the production, import, export, possession, and use of cannabis and kratom for medical purposes. The medical use of cannabis and the use of some non-psychoactive parts of the plant became legal in Thailand in 2018.
By 2020, the Thai were already selling and producing non-psychoactive cannabis cosmetics and edibles. At present, cannabis-based medications are prepared by hospitals through licensed pharmaceutical producers. People in Thailand are currently able to get medical cannabis from any registered store and grow up to 6 cannabis plants at home for personal use. The latest regulation is expected to expand access rights to cannabis and stimulate the industry of derived products.